131 minutes, India, 1963, Black and White, D-Cinema


Subrata Mazumdar (Anil Chatterjee) is a bank clerk supporting his extended family in Calcutta, and struggling to make ends meet. He is a staunch traditionalist, and therefore horrified when his feisty wife Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee) decides she should find a job. Facing disapproval and condemnation from the family, she takes a position selling knitting machines. As she proves herself successful in the role, becoming increasingly happy and more confident, Sabrata’s anxiety grows.

Restored in India as part of the country’s centenary of cinema celebrations, and also marking the film’s own 50th anniversary, Satyajit Ray’s portrait of mid-‘50s Calcutta remains deeply resonant, skillfully balancing the epic and the intimate, juxtaposing life in the big city with the believably human concerns of its multi-generational cast of characters. At its centre is a superb performance from Ray favourite Madhabi Mukherjee, transforming from an obedient wife to a hardworking career woman.(Notes by Michael Hayden.)

This film will be one of three films discussed in August’s The Critical Take, our FREE monthly film club, on Wednesday, August 28th at 18.30. Simply request your FREE ticket at the IFI Box Office.

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